Skin-Macerated Petit Manseng
12.4% ABV | 8 Months Neutral French Oak | 15 Day Skin Maceration | Virginia Appellation
Our 2020 Sungold differs from the 2019 in that we switched the grape used in production, from Viognier to Petit Manseng. There are a few reasons for this, but the most important is that Petit Manseng lends itself to more sustainable farming practices in the mid-Atlantic. Simply put, Petit Manseng is pretty bullet proof in the vineyard when it comes to vinifera cultivars. Along with this fact, Petit Manseng also holds a high amount of acidity and flavor, which plays well to this production style.
The Petit Manseng was hand harvested on September 9th from Hillsboro Vineyards down in Loudoun County. The grapes were immediately placed into a refrigerated truck and then transported to Rocklands. The grapes were placed in our cold storage and cooled overnight.
The following day the grapes were destemmed and placed into fermentation bins. The bins were left alone to begin their natural fermentation. Upon fermentation starting, each bin was “punched down” once a day. This is a similar process that we do with most of our reds wines, in which the floating “cap” of grapes is pushed down into the fermenting juice. This is done to extract more flavor, structure, and phenolic characteristics.
On October 2 the wines were completely done with alcoholic fermentation and were subsequently pressed to tank and barreled down the following day. The wine remained in barrel until being bottled, untouched besides being topped up periodically.
The 2020 Sungold was moved from barrel to tank in April 2021 where it remained for a month before bottling. This was done to give all the individual barrels time to homogenize in a single tank. 48 hours before bottling the wine received a very small amount of sulfites, and then was bottled on May 5.
The only thing added to this wine was the small amount of sulfites 48 hours before bottling. Besides that, nothing else was used in making the 2020 Sungold besides the grapes. The wine is unfined and unfiltered.
Visually the wine is cloudy with some sediment in the bottle. This is due to many factors, the most important being that it is unfined and unfiltered.
On the nose the 2020 Sungold’s aromatics are jumping out of the glass. The wine leads with dried stone and tropical fruits, most obvious being the signature Petit Manseng aroma of pineapple. But upon further inspection there is much more to this wine than just the fruit. Elements of honey, cream, cinnamon, and even cheese express themselves as one smells the wine. The wine has something new to add every time one comes back to the glass to smell, and thus could be described as complex.
On the palate many of the aromas are confirmed, with perhaps more emphasis on the non-fruit characteristics described above. The wine is no doubt structured, with some phenolic character due to its time on skins. There is also a fair bit of natural acid present in the wine which both helps promote its phenolic characteristics as well as provide a quenching aspect.
Because of its style, the 2020 Sungold can be paired with a wide variety of foods and dishes. It can easily be drunk alone, but also paired with lighter meals all the way to something heavier such as a steak.
Descriptors: stone fruit, apricot, dried tropical fruit, pineapple, tangerine, lychee, honey, cinnamon, orange cream, cheese, pencil shavings